Most parents will probably agree that the Internet can be both a “friend” and a “foe” when it comes to raising and teaching their kids. It cannot be denied that it is truly a powerful learning tool for children, as it provides access to information that we “oldies” had to find in encyclopedias and other books — and so much more!
However, along with that “power” comes the potential for danger too, as the Internet can also be an unsafe place. A misspelled word typed into a search engine or a click on the wrong link can expose your child to cyber bullies or, worse, child predators and other criminal elements.
Needless to say, there is a great need for parents to guide and educate their children on how to stay safe online. Macky Cruz, technical communications manager at Trend Micro Philippines, recommends the following software solutions for safer Internet usage for your kids (and your peace of mind!):
1. Dr. Safety This is an anti-malware solution for Android devices that protects users against online threats, allows call blocking, and includes data privacy when using social media. Here are some of its features:
- Security threat scan: Detects and blocks malicious apps before they reach your device. It can also remove malicious apps already present on your Android smartphone or tablet, and restore the proper settings that malicious apps might have changed.
- Privacy risk scan: Identifies which apps collect and steal personal data. - Lost device protection: Lets you find, lock, or wipe the data off a missing device.
Dr. Safety is compatible with devices using Android version 2.3 and up. Download it for free from the Google Play store.
2. Dr. Booster Dr. Booster frees up memory space (RAM) and removes viruses and junk cache, allowing for a faster browsing experience for the whole family. It also automatically scans new games and new apps to enable fast access, and to eliminate malware.
Besides protection and security, it also provides easy home screen access to favorite games and apps for a quick view of all the running apps.
Dr. Booster is compatible with devices using Android version 2.3 and up. Available for free download via the Google Play store.
3. Trend Micro Security Trend Micro Security has special features that give parents the power to both regulate their kids' device access rights and prevent them from visiting inappropriate pages. Below are the some of the benefits of this solution:
- Family protection: Limits kids’ access to websites and desktop apps that may bring harmful or unnecessary content. - Privacy protection: Helps prevent theft of personal identifiable information by blocking phishing emails. It also scans privacy settings on social media sites such Facebook, Google+, and Twitter; and helps users manage and secure the passwords of their online accounts. - Mobile device protection: It can help kids protect their Android or iOS devices in many ways as the solution can identify data stealing apps and take necessary action for it, and find their devices once misplaced or taken away. It can also back up, restore, and share contacts between devices, which is useful when devices are lost or stolen.
Trend Micro Security can be used on PC, Mac®, Android, and iOS. Available on the Trend Micro website for P2,490 per yearly subscription (good for 3 devices) or P1,690 per yearly subscription (good for 1 device).
4. Privacy Scanner for Facebook Parents can teach their kids how to use Privacy Scanner for Facebook, which helps in placing recommended privacy settings so users are protected from malicious or unwanted access to personal information.
Designed to work with Facebook, Privacy Scanner will: - Scan Facebook settings - Identify risky settings on Facebook - Recommend changes to Facebook settings - Verify that the changes have been made on Facebook
Privacy Scanner for Facebook is free and requires Android versions 2.2 and up. You can download it via Google Play.
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If you’re looking for apps that will allow you to set content limits and the amount of time your child spends on certain apps, we share a few recommendations from Jennyfer Tan, who is known online and offline as “The Techie Mom.” Besides being a virtual professional and self-declared “techie troubleshooter,” Jenn is also hands-on mom to two kids. Below are her picks:
5. DinnerTime Plus This app for Android and iOS devices lets parents remotely control up to two Android devices. Below are some of its features:
- Real-time monitoring: Displays real-time status of your child’s device and allows you to see which app is currently running - Bed Time and Study Time Control: You can set a start and end time to pause any activity while in Bed Time or Study Time mode. - App and Device time limits: Set time limits for how long your kid can use the app or device. - App blocking feature: You can decide which apps your child can access. - Parent notification: Parents are notified of any unusual activities on the child’s device
DinnerTime Plus can be downloaded for free on Google Play or iTunes.
6. Screen Time: Parental Control Similar to DinnerTime Plus in that it also lets you limit the time your child uses a device, this app also lets you add “bonus time” as a “reward” for your child, e.g. when he/she gets good grades or helps with chores. You can also do the following:
- Monitor what websites your child is visiting - Monitor what apps your child is accessing - Block any apps that you don’t want your child to use
The app is free if you want to use only its remote device monitoring, and web & search history features (good for 1 device) but you would have to pay a monthly fee of US$3.99 to use its other features. You can download it on Google Play.
What other software or apps can you recommend? Tell us about them in the Comments section!